In my first job as a crime and legal affairs reporter for the Daytona Beach News-Journal, I spent many days searching through dusty records in courtrooms, police headquarters and the newsroom’s library to create extensive news reports based on statistics and data. I hadn’t yet heard of “multimedia journalism” and even though I was computer savvy, I didn’t know how computers could be used to elevate my work. Fast forward a few years later and I am combining my love of online technology and software with my passion for hardcore news reporting.

There are many ways for investigative reporters to use multimedia and digital journalism tools to give the reader a better understanding of the story at hand. The web serves as an all-encompassing platform for publishing interactive maps, multimedia stories built in Flash or other software, video, audio and other forms of media besides text.

As this blog post from Journalism.co.uk about my transition to California Watch points out, news audiences digest stories in several different ways. If investigative reporters tell a single story using various media or use visual media to quickly convey information, the more readers and viewers the story is likely to attract.

My current position at California Watch allows me to help shape investigative reports using several forms of media and visualizations. The responsibility, however, requires the judgment to know which media is appropriate for a particular story. For example, interactive maps are great, but they aren’t appropriate for every story.

At the very least, investigative reporters should be knowledgeable about the tools that can help elevate their reporting with web producers or other newsroom staff to create stories that have the greatest impact possible.

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting
and is now the largest investigative reporting team operating in the state.
Visit the Web site at www.californiawatch.org for in-depth coverage of K-12
schools, higher education, money and politics, health and welfare, public
safety and the environment.